Live at Joseph's Well on Saturday, 26th May 2007
As a way of celebrating some monumental Birthday, the city of Leeds has taken it upon itself to throw a massive party, and invite loads of bands from around the globe to join in. Down at The Well, I manage to get into the venue in time for The Plight. Having been impressed by them on loads of occasions it's difficult for me to say anything good about them that I haven't said before, but it's actually all true, and today is no different. They plough through their set with the same vigour and intensity I'd come to expect, with a brace of newer songs providing something different and a welcome addition to the proceedings. Cry For Silence however, are an unknown quantity as far as I'm concerned, but that doesn't stop them blowing mine and everyone else's head off with their technically proficient metal bluster. These boys certainly know their way around their instruments, with one of the two guitarists sporting a mammoth 8 stringed, 36 fretted beast of an instrument, of which he covers every inch throughout the set. Impressive. They also manage to balance proceedings getting two eager gentlemen on stage to do beer bongs, which serves as a welcome break from the aural onslaught of their music. Less impressively, Drop Dead Gorgeous look like they've just got out of bed and their music is as sloppy as that would suggest. The sound is a mess and the likes of "Dressed for Friend Requests", which sounds brutal and epic on record, sound flat and lifeless tonight, and the band themselves look like they would much rather be elsewhere.
By complete contrast, From Autumn To Ashes hit the ground running, and don't stop for the entirety of their almost hour long set. It's a fantastic achievement that not only have they recorded possibly the best album of their career with "Holding a Wolf By The Ears", but their live show appears to have improved drastically with it, both after having dealt with the departure of their original vocalist Ben Perri. New frontman Fran Mark displays an intensity that was previously unreachable from behind the drums (Fran previously held drum and vocal duties prior to the change), but with new sticksman Jeff Gretz taking over, Fran is free to inject his power and vitriol into the new material ("Everything I Need" sounds particularly vicious in a live setting), and also give older songs such as "The After Dinner Payback" a welcome sense of vitality that may have been lost over the years of touring.
If tonight has proved anything, it's that Leeds knows how to throw one hell of a party. But at the same time, with a band like From Autumn To Ashes and a perfect (almost) supporting cast, it was a winner from the beginning.